Kove Moto Reshuffles Dakar Rally Team Amid CEO Departure

    In a significant shift for the Chinese motorcycle manufacturer, Kove Moto’s rally raid team has undergone a restructuring following the departure of CEO Zhang Xue in March. This marked a new era for the company as they reevaluate their motorsport operations.

    One major change was the dissolution of Kove’s dedicated rally raid team, though the brand continues to provide factory support for select riders and teams. The works programme now centers around Kove’s factory riders Neels Theric and Deng Liansong, though the team structure has been streamlined compared to the previous setup.

    “Everyone may be asking why we’re not with the Kove team,” explained Fang Mingji, a former member of the Kove squad, in a Douyin post. “In March, Zhang Xue, President Zhang, resigned. Not long after, Excelle’s (another name for the company) cross-country team was also disbanded. This year’s Excelle rally team will be Neels and my brother Deng Liansong.”

    Zhang, a former motocross rider and Kove founder, departed the company in March due to differences with other executives, but remains a shareholder. Despite his exit, Kove has reaffirmed its commitment to racing in both rally raid and superbike disciplines.

    Kove made their Dakar Rally debut in 2023, with all three of their riders, including Fang and Deng, successfully reaching the finish line. The company rapidly expanded its rally programme over the year, adding factory riders like Theric and Xavier Flick, as well as introducing the Kove 450 Rally EX model. For the 2024 Dakar, the brand has formed a factory-level partnership with rider Mason Klein.

    While the dedicated Kove rally team may no longer exist, privateer Kove bikes have continued to compete in the World Rally-Raid Championship, with riders such as Abdulla Lanjawi and Jatin Jain.

    The upcoming Taklimakan Rally, held in Kove’s home country of China from May 20 to June 1, will see the brand field six bikes, including one for former CEO Zhang.

    ๐Ÿ”— Source